Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Link: Confessions of a Computer Hater

I've long been a fan of Peter Kreeft, a Catholic writer, philosopher and professor at Boston College and one of the world's leading experts on the writings of CS Lewis. He has a knack for making the esoteric understandable and logical. And now I have another reason to like him: he's a typewriter kinda guy. My favorite quotes:

Despite my ordeal, I had not lost hope. "My name is Peter," I told myself, "and the Hell of Gates will not prevail against me." After all, after a mere twelve years of Herculean labors, I have actually figured out how to use Microsoft Word. Here's the secret: You must trick the computer. If it knows you're indenting, or paragraphing, or numbering, it will correct you. Only by doing something else entirely will the computer give you what you really want.

I have been there. Ooooh, I have been there. And I'm supposed to be a techie. Yes, I know how to work around Word, but I hate it that I have to do so.

And, of course, the money quote:
As for me, I'm done with it. I've found my way out with a relic as rare as a chastity belt: a beautiful little manual typewriter. It has no will, no devious designs, no nefarious stratagems. It's the honest, obedient slave the Industrial Revolution was intended to create. It's content to be my creature, and I adore it. Of course it takes longer to use than a computer, but who cares? Time ceases to matter when you're in love.

7 comments:

speculator said...

I've been a Kreeft fan for years, too!
And my two cents here is that the bridge between creating on a mechanical typewriter (or handwriting), and the Gates Product, is WordPerfect. WP doesn't dictate to me, reads all its own earlier versions (along with the Gates Products), and is non-Anglophone friendly.
If you want to really relish classic WordPerfect, try the old DOS versions (like 5.1) !

Mike Speegle said...

"Only by doing something else entirely will the computer give you what you really want."

Makes 'em, sound like cats. Ignore them as hard as you can, all of the sudden they want to be your friend.

As far as the software goes, I used to use Q10, which kept me from getting distracted with its monochrome interface. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work on my Vista Ultimate. So sad.

Mike Speegle said...

OK, so I actually got around to reading the whole article. That Kreeft fella is pretty hilarious. Kinda reminds me of Dave Barry.

Little Flower Petals said...

I wonder if there are old versions of WordPerfect floating around on eBay or something. I'm mostly pretty happy with Open Office Writer with all autoformat options turned off (if I want a bullet list I'll ask for it, thank you very much), but it's a bit of a resource hog.

I laughed out loud when he talked about the Mac laughing at him when he got the password wrong. I'm mostly a PC person, but we had Mac labs at the college where I worked in VT, and I've been there, too. Tell me I typed it wrong, but don't shake your head at me!

speculator said...

Oh, I'm sure you can find all sorts of versions of WordPerfect.
Version 7 is very bare-bones- but the last DOS version they made (5.1) is almost like using a typewriter.

Kreeft has that great mix of depth and wit. Have you ever read his writing about Socrates?

Little Flower Petals said...

I've not read his Socrates books. Actually, looking at his author page at Ignatius Insight, it's obvious I have a lot of catching up to do! I've read maybe half a dozen of his books, and own two or three...if I didn't give them away. They're the sort of books that make you want to spread the wealth.

Anne said...

I've just discovered Kreeft myself. he's a great writer, easy to read and enjoyable! I've just picked up a huge stack of his books from my local Seminary Library and anticipate reading them with great relish.